Gold Coast attractive to Asian markets

GIFT Director Susanne Becken, Associate Professor Xiang (Robert) Li and Gold Coast Tourism's Gordon Price.
GIFT Director Susanne Becken, Associate Professor Xiang (Robert) Li and Gold Coast Tourism's Gordon Price.

Australia’s Gold Coast is ticking all the right boxes in maximising its tourism reach into emerging markets throughout China and other Asian countries.

Recently appointed Adjunct Professor of the Griffith Institute for Tourism (GIFT), Associate Professor Xiang (Robert) Li of the University of South Carolina highlighted important issues and trends affecting destination marketing during an industry breakfast at the Griffith University Gold Coast campus.

Associate Professor Li’s research focuses on destination marketing and tourist behaviour, with special emphasis on international destination branding, customer loyalty, and tourism in Asia.

“Without doubt Australia is leading the way with its successes in penetrating into emerging markets throughout China and the greater Asia region, with the rest of the World looking to this country as a guide towards optimising their own activities,” said Associate Professor Li.

“The annual growth of travellers among these emerging markets is staggering, with nearly two billion middle-class consumers currently spending more than $6.9 trillion each year.

“With a new wave of free, independent traveller represented by a younger, more carefree, impulse-purchasing segment, it’s important for destinations like the Gold Coast to engage early for long term support.”

And that’s exactly the charter already being implemented and maintained by Gold Coast Tourism, with associated marketing programs paying huge dividends.

“The Chinese market is of vital importance to the longer-term growth and sustainability of the tourism industry here on the Gold Coast,” confirmed GCT Director International, Gordon Price.

“Whilst Gold Coast Tourism has already made significant inroads in China in terms of travel-trade development and more recently with increased consumer-direct engagement through social media platforms, as an industry we cannot rest on historical successes and become complacent.

“The attractiveness of the Chinese market is well recognised by all the leading tourism destinations of the world and it is imperative that the Gold Coast’s marketing and subsequent service delivery continues to be refined and improved to cater for the ever-changing needs of the Chinese market.

“Our consumer-direct strategy has served to generate both first-timer demand for the Gold Coast, and through our social media channels on Sina Weibo, Tencent Weibo and Wechat, we are continuing to create a community of Gold Coast advocates in China, inspired to share their own stories and experiences of the destination to help sustain demand for the Gold Coast and compel the Chinese to visit and revisit the region.”

In conjunction with the Griffith University’s Tourism Confucius Institute, GIFT is playing its part in establishing stronger ties with our Asian neighbours, instigating the first ever East-West Dialogue on Tourism and the Chinese Dream on 13-15 November.

Strategically, the inaugural East-West Dialogue is a perfect fit for the South East Queensland region, timed to coincide with the G20 Leaders Summit in Brisbane.

“The timing is impeccable with economic issues at the heart of the G20 and the tourism industry a major contributor to the world economy,” said GIFT Professor Dave Weaver.

“Add to this the status of China as a major player at the G20 Summit and it confirms the importance and potential wide-ranging benefits for domestic and world-wide industry representatives attending the East-West Dialogue.”

The high-level, bi-lateral discussions at this important conference will bring together more than 100 representatives of Australian and Chinese Government, education and research institutions, plus valued contributions from the tourism industry.